Cooler temps greet Death Riders |

Cooler temps greet Death Riders

by Joey Crandall

After an extended spell in the mid-90s, temperatures in Alpine County dipped into the 80s over the weekend – just in time for the 32nd annual Death Ride: Tour of the California Alps.

“We were lucky this year,” said Teresa Burkhauser, executive director of the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce, which runs the event. “The weather cooperated. No wind, no rain, no snow. It was really quite pleasant and everyone seemed to enjoy it. There were no major medical issues and it was overall a very successful year.”

3,500 riders registered for the ride, which consists of five mountain passes covering 129 miles and more than 15,000 feet of climbing, although Burkhauser said a final count on how many actually showed up and how many completed all five passes wasn’t yet available.

“It’s a big ride and everyone works very hard to make it happen,” Burkhauser said.

“The list goes on and on, from making sure the riders are comfortable to communications and tech support. Everyone deserves a big pat on the back. The residents of Alpine County who put up with us for the day.”

Burkhauser said it takes a small army to run a successful death ride and that a number of nonprofit groups came out to help.

“Having every rest stop and water staffed, it adds up,” she said. “The Douglas High football team came out and did a rest stop, Search & Rescue was doing quite a bit.

The Alpine Kids did the spaghetti dinner the night before. First and foremost we want everyone safe and happy. We can’t do that without the help we receive.

“Even just considering the logistics to get things set up. We have to truck in the water, the Porta-Potties, the Dumpsters, all the food. It really does take an army to make it a successful run and the feedback so far has been pretty good.”

Among the participants this year was a team that came over from Japan.

“It’s hard to take a guess, but maybe between 1,500 and 1,800 riders finished all five passes,” Burkhauser said. “We’ll get a final count in a couple weeks.”